Save 10% by applying to become a Host. Get started.

Tips & How-to's12 min read

Outdoor Sectional Buying Guide: What To Know Before You Shop

Outdoor Sectional Buying Guide: What To Know Before You Shop

So you’re on the hunt for the perfect outdoor sectional 一 you’ve come to the right place! At Outer, we’re on a mission to bring life back outside.

We consider your outdoor living area an extension of your home’s indoor space, so it’s only fitting that your furniture choices for this area are thoughtfully planned and well-researched.

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the right outdoor sectional to suit your needs, and it goes far beyond just looking aesthetically pleasing. You’ll want to make sure the newest addition to your outdoor space is functional, comfortable, and durable.

Keep reading to learn more about the key features to consider when buying an outdoor sectional, plus our favorite additions for styling your space.

Outdoor furniture in a patio space
Outer Wicker Outdoor Sofa with Armless Chairs - 5 Seat

What’s An Outdoor Sectional, Anyway?

A sectional is a type of modular sofa. Created in separate pieces that can be disassembled and reassembled in multiple configurations, the sectional is a versatile piece of furniture that suits a variety of spaces.

Sectionals generally come in either an L-shape or U-shape, making them the perfect choice for corner spaces and large outdoor areas with a lot of room to fill.

The beauty of the outdoor sectional is that it can be arranged to suit your outdoor living space, so you can say goodbye to that awkward corner of your patio 一 a sectional can be assembled to utilize every inch of space you have available.

Outdoor sectionals offer more flexibility than traditional patio furniture, making it super easy to get cozy or spread out depending on your needs.

Having the option of splitting a 6-seater sectional into a 4-seater with two chairs? A stroke of genius, if we do say so ourselves.

You can even change up your sectional each season to give your outdoor space a fresh look whenever you feel like it. The possibilities are endless!

How To Select Your New Outdoor Sectional

Dog sitting in front of outdoor sectional
Outer Wicker Outdoor U Sectional - 7 Seat

1) Make Sure It Fits Your Space

Our first tip for choosing your new outdoor sectional sofa is to take accurate measurements to ensure you get the perfect fit.

Selecting a sectional that’s too large for your space can leave you feeling cramped and crowded with limited room to move. In contrast, purchasing a small sofa that doesn’t fill up your outdoor area can make it look a little bare. It’s all about balance.

Because outdoor spaces come in various shapes and sizes, so does the Outer Sectional range.

For a cozy outdoor space, a corner (L-shape) sectional like our 4-Piece Outdoor Corner Sectional will provide plenty of seating without taking up your whole outdoor area.

If you have a larger space, opt for a U-shaped sectional with plenty of seating to fill up the area. Outer’s 6-Piece Outdoor U Sectional is the perfect option for those in-between sized spaces!

For bigger events, go for our 8-Piece Outdoor U Sectional to ensure all your guests have somewhere comfortable to sit and enjoy themselves at your place.

When it comes to arranging your outdoor sectional, get creative! Whether you’re having friends over for game night or just hanging out as a couple, a sectional is versatile enough to go from one event to the next with minimal fuss.

We’ve created sectional options for spaces big and small so you can enjoy the flexibility and functionality of an outdoor sectional no matter the size of your outdoor area!

2) Test For Comfort

Woman relaxing on an outdoor sectional

Possibly the most important aspect of your new furniture is how comfortable it is to lounge on. After all, what good is a great-looking sofa if it doesn’t feel incredible while you’re relaxing?

From the cushion covers to the cushion inserts, the frame, and everything in-between, look for a sectional that’s not only stylish but comfortable and functional, too.

With that in mind, you and your new outdoor sectional deserve to get acquainted without any pressure. It can take more than a few dates to know if your sectional is “the one,” which is why we recommend opting for a purchase that allows for hassle-free returns, just in case!

Within 14 days of delivery, Outer offers free return shipping and a 100% money back or merchandise credit guarantee. If it’s been more than 14 days and you decide the furniture isn’t for you, we offer a return policy for up to 365 days after delivery that will incur a 20% return fee.

This extended window gives you plenty of time to try out your new Outer furniture and make sure it’s just as comfortable as you’d hoped (spoiler alert: it is!).

Browse our sectionals at one of our virtual showrooms to get an idea of which one is right for you!

3) Opt For A Life-Proof Sectional

Outer patio furniture with cover to protect it.
Outer Wicker Outdoor Corner Sectional - 5 Seat

If you have pets or kids — or you’re just a little on the messy side — finding a sofa that can withstand daily life is going to be crucial when shopping for your new outdoor sectional.

It goes without saying that your outdoor furniture should be purpose-built to live outdoors. You don’t want to have to worry about hauling it undercover any time it rains or if you’re worried that the sun will fade your brand new cushions.

From filthy paws to post-pool bottoms, your outdoor sectional should be able to handle anything you throw at it 一 literally!

Cleaning it should be a breeze and, ideally, the fabric should be machine-washable to make your life a little bit easier.

On top of rustproof legs and all-weather wicker, all Outer outdoor sectionals come with completely life-proof cushions. They feature a nano-coating that is UV-, water-, mold-, bleach-, and stain-resistant.

We even took life-proofing one step further by adding our OuterShell™ to all our sectionals and sofas. This built-in cover can be pulled up to add an extra layer of protection to your cushions, and it comes in handy if you ever need to transport them.

4) Triple-Check The Warranty Terms

You’ve found the perfect sectional 一 it’s stylish, super comfortable, and will fit perfectly in your outdoor space. What’s left to check off your list? The warranty.

Warranties may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re having to purchase a new sectional just a few years down the road because the first one you bought fell apart, you’ll quickly learn that they are.

When shopping for your new outdoor sectional, check out the warranty to ensure you’ll be protected should you ever need help with your purchase. There’s nothing worse than finding an issue with your outdoor furniture only to discover that the warranty period is up!

At Outer, we’re proud to offer a five-year limited warranty on our cushions and fabrics, with an additional five years for sofa legs and frames.

We want our outdoor sectionals to live happily ever after with you, and we hope that will be for many years to come.

5) Read Customer Reviews

Woman doing work on an outdoor sectional

Sometimes it feels like the right product comes along that checks all the boxes — until it’s in your home and starts to cause a world of problems.

Some companies will advertise misleading information about the quality of their furniture, resulting in cheap materials and dissatisfied customers. A quick and easy way to make sure customers are getting exactly what they’re looking for is by reading the online reviews.

At Outer, we’re proud to say that what you see is what you get. That means no hidden flaws or shortcuts in design, so you can rest easy knowing the value of your sectional is more than just a price tag.

But don’t just take our word for it. Check out hundreds of the most recent reviews from Outer customers and find out exactly what all the buzz is about.

Finding The Best Material For Your Outdoor Sectional

So you’ve found the right sectional, but now there’s one final dilemma — which material do you get?

The most common materials to come across when outdoor sectional shopping are teak, wicker, and aluminum. This is thanks to the durability that each brings to withstand the elements and create the best outside experience.

First, it’s best to figure out whether your backyard already has a defined style. Is there a minimalist and modern feel to the space? Teak or aluminum are both safe bets. Do the words “charming” and “comfortable” best describe your backyard? Wicker will fit right in.

Designing the feel of your backyard is one of the most enjoyable parts of the space — right next to relaxing in it with friends and family. But how do you decide which material will go with your outdoor sectional? Let’s take a look at the benefits each one can bring.

Teak Wood

Teak outdoor sectional
Outer Teak Outdoor Sofa with Armchairs - 5 Seat

For the modernist who just can’t get enough of the natural wood look, teak is a style that never disappoints. This dense hardwood is smooth and golden and is a standout piece that wows company every time.

With a sustainable build and sophisticated style, all Outer Teak products are harvested from responsibly managed fields in Java and certified through the Forest Stewardship Council. Who knew living responsibly could be so comfortable?

Caring for teak is also as simple as it gets. The natural oils of the wood protect against a range of outdoor threats, from weather to pests and even rot. A light brushing with a mix of mild detergent and some water at the end of each season will keep your teak in tip-top shape.

Wicker

If you’re leaning toward an option that can withstand the hottest of hot days as well as the unbearable cold, then look no further than weather-ready wicker for a durable, iconic look.

Wicker is a woven design that is lightweight, comfortable, and easy to maintain. The style is casual enough to make guests feel at home, but it’s also fashionable enough to make the perfect outdoor statement.

And for anyone who thought caring for teak furniture was easy, wicker takes effortless cleaning to a new level. After removing the cushions and hosing down your wicker sectional, simply leave it out to air dry.

Wicker is built to last, fully recyclable, and has a timeless look that will make your sectional stand out from the rest. It’s an ideal choice that’s ready for the unpredictability of every season — whether that’s weather or unexpected company!

Aluminum

Aluminum outdoor sectional
Outer Aluminum Outdoor U Sectional - 6 Seat

Finally, we have strong, minimalist, and climate-controlled aluminum. Aluminum comes with the added benefit of staying cool to the touch since it rapidly dissipates heat, even in the hot summer sun. It’s hard to go wrong with polished and practical.

With a design that offers a sleek frame and functionality, aluminum is a stylish option that’s sure to satisfy everyone.

Just remember that not all aluminum is crafted with the same level of care and quality. At Outer, we finish our Aluminum furniture with top-of-the-line powder coating guaranteed to last for over 10 years.

And cleaning aluminum only requires you to hose off the dust and dirt from the frame, scrub it down using a soft bristle brush and simple cleaning formula, and let it dry completely once it’s been rinsed.

Other Options

Some outdoor furniture will offer steel as an option, but this material can quickly heat up in the sun. Sitting on a scorching sectional or resting your arms on a burning frame is not a pleasant experience. Having to deal with it all season isn’t how you want to spend your summer.

Wrought iron is another choice that companies will have in stock. While these styles look nice on the sales floor, wrought iron is known to be heavier, prone to rusting, and is often just downright uncomfortable.

There is also a wide variety of other woods to choose from besides teak. White oak, eucalyptus, and even mahogany are styles that can be found as part of a backyard set, but these have all declined in popularity since teak became a more efficient and practical option.

The benefit of teak compared to other choices is that teak is the most durable and available. And none of the other wood options will naturally withstand the great outdoors the same way teak can.

Don’t Forget The Cover

To keep your sectional protected in any weather, it’s a good idea to invest in a quality cover for all outdoor furniture.

A good cover should be made of a durable, breathable fabric to avoid trapping moisture and should be fade-resistant for all the sunny days your sectional will spend outside.

We also recommend keeping an eye out for features like wind straps so your cover won’t blow away in strong winds.

When you purchase an All-Weather Cover for your sectional from Outer, you can expect the perfect fit for complete protection in any environment. The vents on the back allow your furniture to get airflow while still keeping water out.

And regardless of which way you’ve decided to arrange your sectional, Outer has you covered. It’s easy to speak with an Outer Product Specialist to make sure you get exactly the right fit for all your backyard needs.

How To Style Your Outdoor Sectional

Pillows and throw blanket on patio furniture
Outer Wicker Sofa

With all of the big decisions made and your brand-new outdoor sectional perfectly placed, there’s only one thing left to do before you invite your guests over to enjoy a relaxing night in your backyard 一 style your outdoor space!

Your new furniture would look even better with some colorful pillows, throws, and a rug or two. But before you dive into buying accessories, it’s best to decide what the purpose of your outdoor space will be.

Consider the vibe you want to create in your outdoor living area to help inform your purchases. Do you want to feel relaxed and tranquil with calming, muted tones, or is your outdoor area going to be reserved for parties that call for bright and bold colors?

Depending on the season or any upcoming events you might have on your calendar, you can change up your outdoor sectional accessories to match.

Our outdoor sectionals feature neutral tones, which makes selecting your colorful accessories simple 一 our furniture pairs well with everything, so you really can’t go wrong.

When it comes to adding a little something extra, fire pits can be amazing for your outdoor space, especially during the cooler months. There’s nothing we love more than cuddling up on a cool night with the fire going.

Fire pit on a patio

We also can’t overlook the importance of rugs to accompany your outdoor sectional. Our range of 1188 Eco-Friendly Outdoor Rugs combines comfort with sustainability to make your outdoor space feel even more welcoming.

Each rug is made with 1,188 recycled plastic bottles (hence the name), so you can feel good about helping the environment while you enjoy the luxurious feel. Try it for yourself to see!

And don’t let mosquitoes ruin your perfect autumn night around the fire. Our Bug Shield Blanket keeps pests away using safe and long-lasting bug-repellent Insect Shield® technology.

We know the only thing worse than mosquitoes is spraying the strong scent of chemicals everywhere to keep them away. That’s why our blankets are odorless, soft, and ready for year-round use.

Available in neutral yet stylish options including houndstooth and pinstripe, bundling up in a Bug Shield Blanket is the best way to ensure a pest-free night while complementing the contemporary look of your sectional.

The options for styling your furniture and adding character to your backyard are full of endless possibilities. Whether it’s simple and inviting or joined by a hot tub and firepit, the only thing that truly matters is that you absolutely love it.

For even more design inspiration, check out our Backyard Showrooms hosted all around the U.S. using Outer products.

Transform Your Outdoor Space With Outer

Outer outdoor sectional beautifully styled in a backyard
Outer Wicker Outdoor U Sectional - 6 Seat

From taking accurate measurements to testing your outdoor sectional for comfort and durability, purchasing your newest piece of outdoor furniture isn’t always an easy decision.

Whether you’re in need of a cozy sectional like our 4-Piece Outdoor Sectional or something a little larger such as the 7-Piece Outdoor U Sectional, Outer has got your patio furniture needs covered!

Follow the steps in this buying guide to ensure you’re taking care of the tricky parts (as well as the fun parts, such as selecting and styling your accessories!) and you’ll be on your way to a successful outdoor sectional purchase in no time.